Editors Note: The story below contains graphic images some might find offensive.
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There are a lot of things that weigh 50 pounds: The big suitcase you have to check-in, a bale of hay, a small air conditioner. But a 50-pound tumor? Doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital removed one from a 70-year-old woman last month.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” said Joy Self.
Self, of Garland, is now a much slender version of her former self.
It was 10 to 12 years ago, that she first noticed she was putting on weight.
“Because my stomach started getting big!” she said. Year after year, she put off going to the doctor until eventually her belly grew to the size of a very large beach ball.
“Three different doctors thought it was a hernia,” she said.
Until doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital told her it was, in fact, a benign ovarian tumor.
“I was shocked actually,” she said.
How big had it become?
“It was 56 pounds,” Self said.
Just how much is 56 pounds? You can compare it to two cases of bottled water containing 24 bottles each.
“My back and my rib cage just hurt really bad. The bottom of my stomach,” Self said.
“The pressure it was generating could’ve cut off blood supply and really was cutting off blood supply to her legs and was preventing blood flow black back to her heart,” said Dr. Thomas Heffernan, a Medical City Dallas surgeon.
Self could hardly walk.
“I had tables to hold onto as I walked to the rooms and stuff like that,” she said.
Heffernan carefully removed the tumor.
“It was well off the beaten path. There’s not a paragraph or chapter that tells you quite how to do this one,” Dr. Heffernan said. “It had distorted the normal anatomy so much, you had to be careful you didn’t injure something, a loop of bowel for example.”
Dr. Heffernan had the tumor sent to their lab to find out what was inside.
“Most of it is fluid filled. So, it was really quite a thin walled but enormous cyst. Full of kind of a viscous fluid,” Dr. Heffernan said.
It had been years since Dr. Heffernan had seen such a thing.
“In residency training, we came across one just over 100 lbs. There was one taken out here in the United States that was over 300 pounds.” he said.
Self had put off seeing doctors because she didn’t like them. But she does now.
“I feel wonderful now,” she said.
Doctors say Self didn’t suffer any lasting effects from the tumor and is now in very good health.